Gartner say that SOA is inevitable – but does it work?


I was in a great briefing yesterday with the Neil’s from MWD when the topic of conversation moved to SOA. This shouldn’t be too surprising considering what Gartner’s latest research predicts:

SOA will be used in more than 50 percent of new mission-critical operational applications and business processes designed in 2007

Gartner continue to explain that this figure will rise to 80% by 2010. What made this interesting though is that the vendor commented that they hadn’t heard of a single SOA implementation that had actually worked. Gartner also back-up this point:

The number of failed projects has also grown, organizations have discovered that SOA benefits have a cost and the challenges associated with its adoption have become more apparent.

MWD - Little SOA vs Big SOAShould everyone give up and forget about implementing SOA as it won’t work, or should they stick at it, as is it inevitable like Gartner predict? Neil Ward-Dutton in his post thinks the answer may be in the way that companies implement it. He calls it ‘Little SOA vs. Big SOA’. I agree with his view that Big SOA is the way forward as the focus is externally facing and not internal.

He clarifies by saying:

‘…a service isn’t something you build; it’s something that is experienced by a consumer’

Neil Macehiter joins in the debate and believes:

a fair proportion of the SOA initiatives we encounter fail to deliver the expected business value, which is in large part due to the focus on ‘Little SOA’

What I find interesting is that this concept is not particularly new. Too often I speak with vendors about their messaging and get presented with their own internal way of looking at things instead of what is the problem that customers are facing. Neil’s anecdotal evidence suggests that most companies approach to SOA has been along the ‘Little’ route – no surprise then that so many have been failing.

Why is this important to me? As a technology marketing professional I need to understand the way IT is moving so that we in turn can partner our clients along this journey. However, if this is the next big thing – I certainly want to be qualified to be part of it.


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